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Brexit set to be delayed after chaotic night for May

  • MPs vote to reject no-deal Brexit ‘under any circumstance’
  • Theresa May suffers two humiliating defeats
  • Events make Brexit delay far more likely
  • PM signals she could hold a third vote on her deal next week
  • Pound rockets as prospect of no-deal recedes

The UK’s departure from the EU is set to be delayed after an extraordinary night in Parliament in which MPs voted to reject a no-deal Brexit ‘under any circumstance’.

Theresa May lost control of her Government as numerous ministers, including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Justice Secretary David Gauke, defied the Prime Minister and abstained from the vote.

Amid chaotic scenes in the House of Commons, MPs twice voted against ‘no-deal’ Brexit. A croaky, chastened Mrs May warned afterwards that MPs had to ‘face up to the consequences’ of what they had just voted for.

She told them that a delay to Brexit was almost inevitable and said that unless her deal was approved by Parliament, it could be years before Britain finally extracts itself from the EU. Even if she can force

The next moment of potentially high drama comes on Thursday evening, when MPs will vote on extending Article 50.

MPs have voted to reject a no-deal Brexit (Picture: PA)

Events on Wednesday night has angered MPs, as it raises the prospect of a third ‘meaningful vote’ on Mrs May’s deal, despite it being rejected twice by large majorities.

Several accused the PM of not listening to them, and voiced disappointment at her decision to whip the vote despite originally saying it would be a free vote.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said extending Article 50 was “now inevitable”.

He said: “In the last 24 hours Parliament has decisively rejected both her deal and no deal.

“While an extension of Article 50 is now inevitable, responsibility for that extension lies solely and squarely at the Prime Minister’s door.”

Calling on Parliament to “take control”, Mr Corbyn said MPs must now find a “compromise solution” – including a People’s Vote – as “that’s what we were elected to do”.

 

Despite the result, the vote is not binding. The only way a no-deal Brexit can be avoided is if the UK revokes Article 50 or if it accepts a deal.

Following MPs’ vote to amend Theresa May’s motion to reject a no-deal Brexit ‘under any circumstance’, European Research Group chairman Jacob Rees-Mogg said the amendment had no legal force.

He told Sky News: “We live under a system of law and a motion passed in Parliament does not override the law.”

Both UK and EU law had March 29 as the leaving date, regardless of the vote, he added.

“This vote is very interesting, and the Government may or may not pay attention to it, but it is not binding, it is not law,” he said.